Contemporary, Middle Grade, Mini-Reviews, Young Adult

Mini-Reviews #1

I am facing reality, guys. I have finally completed my undergraduate programme. I’ve written my research paper, I’ve sat for my final exams for the last time and as of today, I am a graduate, albeit unofficially.

So, here are some mini-reviews of books I read while I was busy crying into my food every day because I was so stressed with my research paper. JOKE. I am not this melodramatic, I swear.


The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

When I first found out about The Female of the Species, I was immediately sold by the mystery behind the murder of the protagonist’s sister. Once in a while, I do like to go for psychological thrillers, and it had been a while since I’ve read anything so unflinching and raw. The Female of the Species tackles issues such as PTSD, rape culture and sex so bravely and Mindy McGinnis didn’t shy away from discussing these topics.

I would definitely recommend The Female of the Species because I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. I was so invested in the story and Alex’s grit and determination to avenge her sister’s death. It is also a story of friendship and defying the odds which was further amplified by Mindy McGinnis’s unapologetic and razor-sharp writing.


Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

I’ve seen Words in Deep Blue on the shelves of the bookstores I visited and it had definitely caught my eye. I finally got a copy and I was really excited to read it because I was promised that the book is filled with bookish references, which is why I was so taken by the premise of the book. Oh, and the cover is totally cute too.

I picked up Cath Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue when I felt like reading a contemporary YA that would tickle my heart and be swooned by the romance. It was an absolutely treat, Words in Deep Blue because I was completely in love with the idea of having a Letter Library where bookstore frequenters could slip little notes into books on the shelf and share a sliver of their memories or themselves with other book lovers. Even though they’ve had history, the romance between Henry and Rachel was quite stilted at first, what with Henry having a girlfriend and all, but they definitely warmed my heart in the end.


Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

I have only read one John Green book prior to picking up Turtles All the Way Down and it was The Fault in Our Stars a few years ago, before the movie came out. My heart still hurts, by the way. Ansel Elgort was the perfect Augustus.

I didn’t have high expectations before going into Turtles All the Way Down because I didn’t even know what to expect from John Green. Aside from the fact that Turtles All the Way Down is John Green’s first book in 5 years, I was hoping to enjoy Aza’s story. There are no words to describe how witty, sharp and clever John Green writes. His prose and voice are unparalleled and I just couldn’t get enough of his writing. His metaphors are spectacular and his characters are not bland pancakes.

As it is mentioned by John Green, Turtles All the Way Down is an #ownvoices book as John Green and the protagonist, Aza have OCD. It is pretty evident, especially in the writing, and it was a great experience reading and learning about OCD in YA. So A+ for representation. However, Turtles All the Way Down suffered from the lack of plot, which is quite common in contemporary YA books, sadly. I was not a huge fan of the plot because I felt like it wasn’t going anywhere and I might even make this statement: Turtles All the Way Down had a very similar plot as The Fault in Our Stars, maybe minus the whole cancer thing.


The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

I have heard nothing but good things about Karuna Riazi’s middle grade book, The Gauntlet when it first came out and I was over the moon when my friend found it at a book sale. It was a hella good bargain!

The Gauntlet has a similar concept to Jumanji but instead of the game coming to live, the characters find themselves sucked into the board game and trapped. The only way to escape The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand and rescue her brother, Farah and her friends must win the game. Typical rules for a board game which traps people in it, really. I loved the richness of the world Karuna Riazi introduced to us, including beautiful and vivid descriptions of the surroundings, mouth-watering Middle Eastern food and hilarious dialogue among the 12-year-olds! The Gauntlet was loads of fun to read and it also had lots of heart.


Unstoppable: My Life So Far by Maria Sharapova

I don’t usually go for autobiographies but for Maria Sharapova, I’d make an exception. I have been idolising Sharapova since she won Wimbledon in 2004. I was 10 back then and her win encouraged me to pick up my dad’s old Wilson tennis racquet and play. I thought I knew more or less about her life, but Unstoppable offered a much deeper insight into my idol’s past and a glimpse of her everyday life. Was I aware of how competitive tennis was back in the 90s and that you had to do so much and more to get the chance to show your talent? No. Now I know.

For me, Unstoppable is more than an account of Sharapova’s journey from hitting balls on a beatdown court with a cut-down racquet to winning Grand Slam titles and becoming one of the most notable figures in women’s tennis in history. For me, it is an inspiration because everything Sharapova shared in Unstoppable only inspired me to do better in life, to be a better person and to stand strong even when the world is against you.

Have you read anything good this year? In case you missed it, I am giving away an ARC of Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu, just click here to read my review and stand a chance to win!


21 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews #1”

  1. Congrats on completing your undergraduate program!! That’s exciting! :D

    Great reviews! I’ve been wanting to read The Female of the Species for so long now. I need to pick up Words in Deep Blue, it sounds so interesting and like something I’ll really like.

    I have a love/hate for John Green’s books. I LOVED The Fault in Our Stars, but any John Green book I’ve picked up after that have just been “okay” or DNF for me. :( I still want to check out Turtles All the Way Down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Ashley! Now I’ve got to find a job and that’s such a nightmare!

      I would definitely recommend The Female of the Species and Words in Deep Blue. Both very different yet great books.

      As for John Green, one of the reasons why I stopped reading after TFIOS was because of his formulaic plots and most of his characters are very similar. Oh well. At least I liked Turtles All the Way Down enough to finish it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i so agree with the lack of plot in turtles!!!!! It was really difficult to connect with Aza, too, because she didn’t really have a personality besides dealing with her ocd. I wish she were a little more dynamic, even though I loved her portrayal of the reality of intrusive thoughts. I LOVED DAISY!! I wish she were the one with ocd, so we could just make her the main character :)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m currently listening to the audiobook of The Female of the Species. So far, I’m having mixed feelings on it. McGinnis’ writing is really good, but the plot is getting kind of stale here in the middle of it. I’m hoping that it starts to turn around soon though!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on graduating!! <3
    I loved reading these mini-reviews, Kevin. I enjoyed Words in Deep Blue a lot, and I am really happy to hear you liked the Gauntlet, that one has been on my TBR for such a long time, I'll have to read it at some point :)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved The Female of the Species too, and I’m so glad you had a great time reading it! At first I thought it was just some contemporary YA with just a hint of mystery, but good heavens, I didn’t know it would be that intense!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats on finishing your undergrad program Kevin!!! 🎉🎉🎉

    I love these mini reviews btw, makes me seriously wish I could condense my thoughts cause ya girl is tiiiiiired after just 1 😂 I’m def going to try this out though 🤞🏼Ok so I seriously go back & forth with wanting & not wanting to read Turtles. I love character driven stories & since I myself have OCD, can’t help but be curious to see the rep on paper. I also have never read a Iohn Green book or watched the movie so I guess that would be a + cause I wouldn’t be as upset as his fans who feel he keeps writing the same books. Sighhhh still indecisive but your review is def helping 😆 I’m hoping to read The Female Of the Species soon since I’ve only read Mindy’s first YA Fantasy book & wasn’t left loving it but I’ve heard amazing things for Female. EeeeK! I haven’t seen anyone talk about Gauntlet & I’ve had it on my Amazon wishlist for far too long! Def treating myself after your review. Thanks for sharing Kevin 😃💜📚💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats on completing your program! That’s so monumental! I really, really want to read John Green’s latest book, I’m waiting for it to come out at my local library.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. OMG KEVINN!! <3 IVE MISSED YOU HAHA Congratzz for finalizing your undergraduate studies ! I'm still at my last semester CANT WAIT EITHER HEHE So happy for those mini book reviews because they are so useful to me :D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mini-reviews are so fun to write! I am definitely going to write more for books that I’ve read but don’t really need to review for publishers! It’s been a while, Trang! How are youuuuuuu? Enjoy your last semester. I miss being a student already.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Megan! I was trying out something new so it was totally fun.

      I don’t blame them. John Green does write well. And Turtles All the Way Down is his first book in 5 years! Probably everyone has been eagerly awaiting it.


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